Every once in a while, you find a gem on CDBaby.com that you might never have found anywhere else. That is what happened with Coma Rossi. Formed in 2014, they are well known in Bangalore, India, where their self–titled debut album has been critically well received by none other than Rolling Stone India.
I have to admit that sometimes it is the cover art that draws me in to some of the music I listen to, this is true of Berlianto Michael’s artwork for Coma Rossi’s debut. Check out his website for more outstanding artwork.
Mirage opens the album with my favourite sound – ocean waves roaring to the shore. Then, if that wasn’t enough to kick this great album off perfectly, they follow up with a Cure-like keyboard and guitar that will bring back memories of the opening of Lullaby, only with Steve Hackett playing guitar. Tom Borah’s first vocals enter, they are deep, reminding me of Emmanuel Pirko Farrath of Anima Mundi. The keyboard sound has a great mix of both Derek Sherinian of Dream Theater and Cristian Della Polla, of Italy’s Kingcrow.
Transmission sounds so much like a Kingcrow song; the waved keyboards, the deep bass and blazing lead guitar. It would have fit well on a some of Kingcrow’s latest albums. A solid, fun song to listen to, close your eyes and try to explore all of the musical features. They also use cool Dream Theater–like “audio dream sequences” with radio announcers, like the one you may remember from the song Space Dye Vest on the Awake album.
The instrumental tribute to Mt. Everest, Jomolungma is Far Away, may be the best song on the album, blistering guitar and keyboard intensity that rivals Laura Meade’s Dragons as the best instrumental song I’ve heard this year. An amazing journey that stays with you long after the song ends, like more well known journeys I remember from both Kingcrow and Anima Mundi.
Yellow Escape opens with airport or train station sounds before slow, picked electric guitar, almost sounding like a sitar, then beautiful keys and powerful drum beats come in like dawn’s opening light, guitar and bass supporting. Another Kingcrow sounding track. Borah sings, “Lead me to the gate”, it’s a deep-thinking emotional track that will hold you captive, enjoying each slow, thoughtfully delivered note.
Dream opens with earthquake-like explosions before an audio vocal and beautiful high electric guitar, anticipating keys and deep bass. Another fantastic keyboard trek. The electric guitar soloing is enormous and spectacular, the drumming is superb. This song is Borah’s longest and best vocal track. Truly a dream come true, sit back and soak this one in with headphones to appreciate it all.
Stillborn is another great vocal presentation from Borah, but this time Juby Thomas’ piano and keyboards and Gaurav Govilkar guitar steal the show. Unbelievable musicianship. “Where have these guys been?”, you will ask yourself… many times during this album.
Turn Back Time is a wonderful song, full of gut-busting drums from Anupam Panda. Borah’s vocals are great, but it is Gaurav Govilkar’s innovative guitar–work that wins out. So much like a great Kingcrow song, but with Borah’s unique vocals it is all Coma Rossi. The drumming and powerful bass from Udayan Kashalikar make this song the second best on the album, the whole band firing on all cylinders. Powerful music beyond words.
The final track, Lost, is a wonderful, mostly instrumental song, filled with bright keyboards, bass, and mesmerising acoustic guitar, plus another of Borah’s best vocal performances. A song that makes you anticipate the follow up album and want it to happen in 2019.
This is one of the best surprises I have found in a few years, like a young Kingcrow with so much talent and potential. Coma Rossi are already making amazing and memorable music, they just need to be found by more of the progressive rock community. One of my favourite albums of 2018. I will search them out and be back for their follow up. How about you?
01. Mirage (7:51)
02. Transmission (6:44)
03. Jomolungma is Far Away (8:50)
04. Yellow Escape (6:19)
05. Dream (13:46)
06. Stillborn (7:49)
07. Turn Back Time (6:54)
08. Lost (9:14)
Total Time – 67:27
Gaurav Govilkar – Guitars
Udayan Kashalikar – Bass, Vocals
Juby Thomas – Keyboards
Tom Borah – Lead Vocals
Anupam Panda – Drums
Record Label: Independent
Country of Origin: India
Date of Release: 20th December 2018